Canopy false floor
A lot of people purchase a new Ute Canopy, and when they go to fit it out, realise that there’s a lip that needs to be overcome, and have to build a false floor. If you don’t know what I mean, in general the base, or floor of a Ute Canopy sits about 30 – 60mm lower than the door seal. If you were to drop a fridge slide in, or a drawer, or an upright fridge, it wouldn’t be able to open as the canopy side obstructs it.
What you need in this instance is a false floor, and in this post we look at what you should think about before building one.
Make it light weight
Utes always end up heavy, and in many cases too heavy. Anything you can do to keep the weight down is a good thing, and you can save a huge chunk of weight in your false floor with a bit of thought. I’ve seen people build them out of 90 x 45mm treated pine, and then an 18mm layer of marine ply on top, and you end up with a false floor that weighs as much as the canopy, and puts you way behind in trying to remain legal in terms of both GVM and axle weights.
Anything you can do to make it light weight and strong, do it. For our false floor, I used two 40 x 19mm pine spacers, screwed to a 12mm marine ply piece of timber, with countersunk allen cap bolts going through the whole lot and into the canopy floor in 6 places.
Its not amazingly neat, but its functional and has caused us zero issues in the last 5 years of owning it. I can unbolt it easily enough too, which is always appreciated.
Can you use it for storage?
If you are going to leave a 40 – 70mm gap under your false floor, think about how you can use it. On our first iteration, I just left ours empty, and since then I’ve cut a hole to allow us to store light weight items that we rarely need (vee belts, radiator hoses, spare rubber, rags etc) and you can save a huge amount of space doing this.
I’ve seen people install slim line batteries, or even water tanks, and this can be quite clever if you can get the weight distribution to work in your favour.
Don’t make more of a false floor than you need to
You might only need a small section of false floor, where your drawers and fridge are going to go. Don’t cover your entire canopy. The lip is useful at times, in stopping items rolling around and coming out. We only have a false floor on half of our canopy where the drawers and fridge are, and it means you have more space on the other side, and less room taken up.
Secure it well to the canopy
If you’ve just rammed a few pan head screws through the floor of your canopy, you’ll live to regret it. This is especially the case if you are mounting serious draw systems and fridges to the floor. Ultimately, the only thing stopping your expensive gear hitting the roof on a nasty dip in the road is your attachments of the false floor to the canopy (and false floor to your gear), so do it right.
We have 6 countersunk allen cap bolts that go through the ply and pine, and through the tray, held in place with nylock nuts and its rock solid.
Make allowances for it to get wet and dirty
Inevitably, no matter how careful you are, you will end up with rain, or mud, or some form of liquid getting into your canopy. Don’t build it out of MDF, or make it so it can’t afford to get any moisture in, as it will happen, and you should be prepared for it. Marine ply is a good start, with the ability to remove the whole false floor if needed a good idea if things really go bad.
False floors are good when done well
If you are smart with your canopy false floor, you can end up with quite a functional setup that will work well for you in the years to come. If its modular, like many Ute Canopies are becoming, then you have plenty of options, but make it functional and do it well!
What have you got for a false floor in your canopy? Are you happy with it?